Consultant Recommends Self-Insurance for State Employees

The Wisconsin Group Insurance Board met Tuesday and discussed a report (below) recommending self-insurance for state employees beginning in 2018. The board is scheduled to meet and vote on the recommendation on February 17.

Currently state employees can choose from 18 insurers, and state employees comprise 14 percent of the state’s health insurance market. Under self-insurance, the state would pay for benefits directly and assume risk. A private insurer would likely be hired to manage the program for the state.

Segal Consulting maintains a switch to self-insurance could save the state $42 million. A preliminary report from Segal in March suggested savings of $50-70 million, while a 2012 Deloitte report noted self-insurance could save the state $20 million but had the potential to cost as much as $100 million.

The Assembly passed a bill Monday that would require Joint Finance Committee approval of any self-insurance contract. A spokesperson for Governor Scott Walker told the Associated Press the governor would likely sign the proposal. Committee co-chair Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) said the committee will work with the Legislative Fiscal Bureau to determine how self-insurance may impact the state’s insurance market after the oversight bill is signed into law.

The Group Insurance Board approved several changes to state employee health plans earlier this year in an effort to cut costs to the state. Much of the savings will be realized through new deductibles and doubled out-of-pocket expenses for workers.

WI Group Insurance Board Segal Report

Legislative Update

BascHill_cap_autumn06_3425The Legislature finishes its current floor period Thursday, November 5 and will not meet again in regular session until January 12. PROFS is monitoring and lobbying on several items, including:

Limits on Scientific Research, Assembly Bill 305/Senate Bill 260PROFS officially registered and delivered testimony against AB 305 and SB 260, proposals that would make it illegal to provide or use for experimentation fetal body parts.

If passed, the bills would criminalize the use of scientific material previously derived from fetal tissue, which includes cell lines that have been in use for more than 30 years. Both bills have passed out of committee but have not been scheduled for a floor vote.

PROFS will continue to strongly oppose the proposals, which have far-reaching negative consequences on campus.

Campus Concealed Carry, Senate Bill 363, PROFS is registered against SB 363, legislation that would require UW System and Wisconsin Technical College System campuses to allow concealed carry of weapons in campus buildings. Current law permits concealed carry on campus grounds, but allows individual campuses to forbid weapons in buildings.

PROFS is vigorously opposed to this legislation saying last month that “we believe that making it easier for people to carry firearms and bring them onto university property would make it more dangerous for the faculty, staff and student of the University of Wisconsin.”

UW System Tenure Policy Task Force PROFS continues to follow the action of UW System’s Tenure Policy Task Force, which met in Madison on October 22 to discuss proposed language on faculty layoffs and post-tenure review. PROFS has a long history of lobbying for strong tenure and met with Regents Millner and Behling earlier this year to reiterate support for tenure protections that meet full AAUP standards.

GOP Legislative Priorities Republican legislative leaders have identified several priorities, including:

  • Civil service reform: legislation passed, but does not include UW employees.
  • Government Accountability Board overhaul: proposed legislation would eliminate the non-partisan GAB and replace it with two commissions—one on elections, the other on ethics, campaign finance and lobbying.
  • John Doe investigations: legislation passed prohibiting the use of John Doe probes when investigating misconduct in public office.
  • Campaign finance changes: proposed legislation would make it harder to learn the background of individual contributors and allow unions and corporations to donate unlimited amounts to political parties and legislative campaign committees.

University Committee Chair’s Message to Faculty on UW System Tenure Task Force

The following message was sent to UW-Madison faculty on Friday, October 23:

Dear UW-Madison faculty,

I know many of you have seen the letter that UW System President Ray Cross sent to the faculty representatives earlier this week. You may have also heard about some of the conversations that were held at the System tenure task force yesterday afternoon. I want to assure you that none of this changes our approach to developing tenure policies for this campus. Before Act 55, the state had a single statute that allowed campuses to develop and implement their own faculty policies and procedures. It has always been our assumption that the policy that will be developed by the Regents in response to Act 55 would similarly allow variations from campus to campus.

The documents that will be submitted to the Senate in November reflect input from the faculty listening sessions, as well as the written revisions submitted after the October Senate reading. We believe that our proposed policies are very strong. We have always been clear that we would draft UW-Madison policies that reflect the language in Act 55 and that are congruent with AAUP standards and our policies of shared governance and strong tenure protections.

I want to make it completely clear that nothing has changed in our approach and we look forward to discussing our proposals with you on November 2nd at the Faculty Senate.


Beth Meyerand, University Committee Chair

PROFS Statement on Concealed Carry on Campus

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Department and University of Wisconsin System issued statements on concealed carry Tuesday:

UW-Madison Police Department Statement

Recent school shootings have elevated discussions across the country about gun safety, protecting the rights of citizens, and protecting the safety of our schools. This is a serious issue and there are many questions to consider.

The UW-Madison Police Department and the University of Wisconsin-Madison support existing state law, which appropriately balances individual rights with community safety. We oppose any legislation that would allow citizens to legally carry concealed weapons inside university buildings.  Current policies at UW-Madison allow concealed carry on university lands – but not in buildings.

To us, as law enforcement professionals at UWPD, the evidence does not support the idea that our campus would be safer if concealed firearms are allowed in our buildings. In states that allow concealed carry, these mass shooting tragedies have still occurred. According to 2014 FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) numbers, you are less likely to become a victim of a violent crime at UW-Madison – which currently does not allow concealed weapons in buildings – than you are in the state of Wisconsin as a whole.

Allowing concealed weapons inside a building like Camp Randall Stadium, filled with 80,000 people, creates a major security issue. The training required to obtain a concealed carry permit is minimal.

We urge our legislators not to change the existing law. Doing so would put the safety of our students, faculty, staff, and guests at risk.

UW System Statement

We take the safety of our campus communities very seriously and know that our legislative partners do as well. We have significant concerns and questions with this proposal and cannot currently support it. We are, however, actively engaged in a dialogue with the legislative authors, Regents, and campus police professionals to ensure our concerns are addressed.

October Board of Regents Meeting

uw system logoThe University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet in Madison Thursday and Friday, October 8 and 9. Meetings will take place in Gordon Dining and Event Center at UW-Madison, 770 West Dayton Street. Livestream coverage of the full board meetings is here.

Regents meet in committee Thursday morning:

The Capital Planning and Budget Committee will hear a report on State Building Commission action and discuss a resolution to fund maintenance and repair projects.

The Research, Economic Development, and Innovation Committee will hear a report on UW-Madison business outreach and an update from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

The Business and Finance Committee will discuss several contractual agreements, receive the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Wisconsin Partnership Program Annual Report, and hear a report on faculty turnover in UW System.

The report on faculty turnover shows that UW-Madison had a turnover rate of 3.89 percent among tenured faculty and 3.58% among probationary faculty in fiscal year 2015. Half of tenured faculty who left UW-Madison cited salary as the primary reason for leaving.

The Education Committee will discuss a plan to waive non-resident enrollment limits at UW-Madison and hear reports on campus accreditations, high school to college success, and preliminary enrollment figures.

The full board meets Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. The regents will discuss the 2014-15 Program Revenue Fund Balance Report and credit transfers Thursday and work of the Tenure Policy Task Force and remedial education Friday. According to the fund balance report, UW-Madison held $52.25 million in unrestricted reserve funds — 13.8 percent of the total. All other unrestricted monies fall under the categories of obligated, planned, or designated.


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